How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar

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Fingerstyle technique is used in almost every genre and style of music, from timeless classical pieces to today's top hits. Instead of strumming chords, pluck individual strings to "decorate" the harmony!

In this video, learn the basics of fingerstyle technique in under five minutes! Iren Arutyunyan is one half of Le Chic Guitar Duo and she has taught this technique to many budding guitarists. Iren uses PIMA fingerings throughout the demo (skip to 0:33 for a quick explanation) and then guides you through meters 2-8 with examples of how they fit into popular songs.

(1:22) – Variation from "Gran Jota" composed by Francisco Tarrega

(1:39) – "Study in E Minor Op. 48 No. 5" composed by Mauro Giuliani

(1:57) – Iren wrote this chord pattern

(2:19) – "Butcher Boy" – an arrangement found in Hall Leonard Guitar Method by Will Schmid

At the end, she'll show you how to bring it all together in the classic Beatles song, Blackbird. If you would like to learn how to play these songs, please visit for the music!

Fingerstyle technique sure does look easy, but it will take time to master! We recommend playing along with the video, taking the time to pause, practice, and repeat the different segments. Most importantly, have fun!

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—— CREDITS ——

Video Production & Editing: Jocelyn Chang
Location: Cordoba Guitars HQ in Santa Monica, CA
Audio was recorded with an Apogee One through a Rode NT5 mic.

—— MORE ——

Iren Arutyunyan is playing a Cordoba Luthier C9 SP.

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Hi everyone:) Maestromike here,Thank you for visiting my website:) I more than appreciate it :) I have been playing guitar for 35 years now- ALREADY!!! boy where does the time go indeed:(:!!!Now the best possible advice i could give you is to be persistent!!!Always pick up and play your guitar whenever possible,use any spare time for playing guitar only!!! And i promise,you will be surprised at how fast you will be able to play,trust me. As my 35 years of Guitar experience proves this fact over and over again!!!So enjoy looking at my site and all the best to your guitar playing, and be persistent,persistent,persistent - Maestromike (Maestro):):):)

92 thoughts on “How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar

  1. P-pulgar
    I-indice
    M-mediano
    A-anular

    Spanish names for thumb, index, middle, and ring finger. Fort those wonder where they get those letters from like I did.

    1. Spanish, Portuguese and French are all Latin-based languages… I’m willing to bet that the Italian words are almost identical, too.

  2. _O-kay_… I’m sure I’ll know how to do this by the time I have great grand children.
    Day 1: Hear we go..

    1. *+Brent Breault*
      You’re obviously dumb, f…… jerk who did not get it.
      That’s being said in ESL (English as a Second Language) Lol…

    1. You don’t necessarily need long fingernails to play fingerstyle guitar, it just helps. I’ve been playing fingerstyle for the past 4 years and I haven’t had long fingernails like that at least half of the time if not more. If you’re having trouble with the thumb, try getting some thumbpicks.

    2. she has false guitar nails uses glue watch closely and yes sometimes you have to apply glue to make your nail stronger and protect them from friction.

    1. Disclaimer: I am also a beginner so take everything i’ve written here with a grain of salt. This is my best guess based on the video and I might be wrong.

      She’s showing a strumming pattern. The strings will always change. You can take any chord and assign the pattern to that chord. Then, depending on which pattern you’re using you pluck the strings of that chord.

      I assume, because i’m only a beginner to and just taking my best guess based on the video, that to actually know which specific strings in those chords you need to pluck you will have to look up the songs. Either that or compose your own by just trying out different strings and see what sounds good.

      For instance in the A minor chord start with playing the bass note (lowest string so A, this is the lowest string because in an A minor chord you do not play the E string) and then pluck either B or e string. Continue doing that with thumb (P as she calls it) hitting lower strings (lowest by sound not physically i’m talking about E A etc. here) and then using the index finger (M as she calls it) to pluck the higher strings (B or e etc.).

      Basically just apply that logic to everything else she said and you should already be able to play with that pattern even if its slower. That’s what i’m doing, its much slower than her but still the same idea. Obviously it will take practice but that’s what its all about.

      As I said just keep doing it and freely pluck which ever strings you want depending on which pattern you chose. Then, if you want to actually try to learn a song which uses fingerstyle techniques like this go and find it and see which strings are supposed to be plucked.

  3. after watching this i grab my guiter after 3 minutes.. i was like pffff…… and guiter already hanging on wall where i kept

    1. (read the following in a heavy russian accent)

      it is weak and petite. feed to others so they may have nutrients to grow strong like thumb.

    1. If you’re a beginner, like I am now, all you have to do is just slow stuff down and play it. Then progressively speed up. That’s literally the whole method of how to learn anything, this doesn’t look overly complex it just requires a lot of practice to get it so natural that you can play the way she does.

      I’ve only just seen this video and only started guitar recently but i’m gonna get myself practicing this now because everything she played sounded fucking amazing.

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